Fishing Line

Stripers fair to great in Sacramento River

Fishing for striped bass an adventure amid controversy

Striped bass are a popular sport fish in the Central Valley, but maintaining the fishery for the non-native species has become controversial. Sacramento fishing guide J.D. Richey describes why anglers fish for them. Coming soon: An in-depth look a
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Striped bass are a popular sport fish in the Central Valley, but maintaining the fishery for the non-native species has become controversial. Sacramento fishing guide J.D. Richey describes why anglers fish for them. Coming soon: An in-depth look a

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of May 2, 2016.



Some shad are being caught at Discovery Park, but the best action has been in the Sacramento just downstream. Stripers have been reported near the Watt Avenue access. Flows held steady all last week at 3,200 cfs.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East, West)

The East and West Carson were stocked by the DFW and Alpine County prior to the stream opener on April 30, but the opener was slow due to very poor weather—wind, rain, and snow—though the diehards caught some nice fish. Folks staying at the Carson River Resort did well across the street in the campground area for rainbows to 4 pounds using salmon eggs. The West Carson in Hope Valley was loaded with anglers on Sunday after the weather improved.


Shad are biting small jigs at Boyd’s Pump and Shanghai Bend. Striper fishing has slowed, but fresh fish are expected to enter the river this week as more water is released into the Feather. The best striper fishing has been from Boyd’s Pump to Verona. Jumbo minnows and pile worms are working best.


The kokanee bite is heating up with fat, healthy kokanee to nearly 15 inches landed between the spillway and the dam at depths to 35 feet with Radical Glow tubes, Uncle Larry’s spinners, or Glitter Bugs micro-hoochies behind a dodger. Trout are holding in open water, and trollers are finding success with shad-patterned spoons from the surface to 30 feet. Bass are in all phases of the spawn, but most fish are in post-spawn mode in deeper water. Catfish action is heating up with the warmer water, and crappie fishing is the best in several years near submerged structure. The lake is releasing water, and it has dropped to 26% of capacity.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Salmon smolts have been released from Coleman National Fish Hatchery, and are expected to fuel a hot striper bite from Butte City to Verona. The river is dropping, which caused many of the stripers to drop downstream last week. Anglers now expect stripers to move upriver to feed on the salmon smolts. Jumbo minnows are working well during the day, while swimbaits are catching stripers at night.


Striper fishing is fair at Discovery Park, where some shad also are being caught. Boaters anchoring downstream from Discovery also are doing well on shad. Shad fishing also is good near Freeport. Minnows, pile worms and blood worms are tricking stripers, along with S-Wavers and white or white and chartreuse swimbaits. Some large stripers have been reported in the deepwater channel. The sloughs around Sacramento are full of crappie and catfish.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa

Stripers moved downstream from Colusa to the Verona area last week, where fishing remains best. Many guides are still finding limits, either anchoring and fishing pile worms or blood worms, or drifting with jumbo minnows. Shad are showing up near Verona. Catfish are being caught at Knight’s Landing, where a few sturgeon also are being caught.


▪ CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon

The Chetco closed March 31 and re-opens to fishing May 22. Expect good fishing for sea-run cutthroat trout the first week of the season. Salmon won't arrive until early October.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon

Spring salmon fishing was slow again last week between Gold Beach and Agness, with most boaters reporting poor fishing. Most of the fish that are being reported have been wild springers that must be released. Flows over the weekend at the Agness gauge were 5,210 cfs. The water temperature was up to 59 degrees because of warm weather in the Medford and Grants Pass area. Anglers are hoping a new batch of late-season fish will arrive in May. Steelhead fishing also has slowed. Surfperch are being caught at the sandspit at the mouth of the Rogue along the south jetty.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Oregon

River fishing hasn’t picked up much, even though the weather has warmed. Only hatchery steelhead can be kept as of May 1, natives must be released, according to Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. The springer action remains fair in the Shady Cove areas of the upper river. Back bounce roe or sardine-wrapped Kwikfish for the salmon. Some bank anglers are pulling in springers on Corkies off a 6-foot leader. Lake fishing has been pretty good on trout at Diamond Lake, Applegate Lake, Lost Creek Lake and Howard Prairie Lake. Bass action continues to be fair at Lake Selmac. Anglers are throwing large swimbaits in trout patterns to get the bigger bass, while lots of smaller bass are being taken on Senkos and buzzbaits.


As of Sunday May 1, the flows at Hacienda were at 580 cfs with excellent clarity, according to Scott Heemstra at Kings Sport & Tackle. “We’re still hearing reports of some post spawn steelhead being caught, but otherwise it’s pretty much over. The smallmouth bass action has picked up considerably in the Guerneville area using soft plastics, diving Rebel lures and Rooster Tail spinners.” He said there are lots of bass in the shallows on beds right now. Shad are the next anadromous fish to enter the river, but only a few have been caught at Johnson’s Beach and nothing to pursue yet. Lots of swimmers and kayakers during the warm weather and this will only pick up as summer is upon us. The "low-flow" restriction is now suspended until October 1. Remember that the Russian River is also now under artificial only regulations and is barbless year round.


The Smith River closed to fishing Saturday evening. Steelhead fishing had tapered off since mid-April. Fishing re-opens May 28, although salmon won't show up until the end of September.


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook

High water continues to damper spring time trout and steelhead fishing. Flows on Sunday were 1,850 cfs. Ideal flows are less than 1,000 cfs. The spring salmon fly hatchery will begin later this month.


Steelhead fishing has been poor. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 4,190 cfs, and 9,370 cfs at Orleans.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

Flows on Sunday at Terwer were 16,300 cfs, and will rise as the annual spring flush continues on the Trinity River. Spring salmon fishing has been slow. The lower Klamath will get a fall salmon quota of 555 adult kings this summer and fall, beginning Aug. 15. Anglers will be allowed to keep two salmon per day until the quota is filled, only one of which can be an adult over 22 inches.


Flows at Lewiston hit 1,950 cfs on Sunday as the spring flush continues. Flows will hit 4,500 cfs on Saturday and then 10,000 cfs on Sunday. They will fluctuate between 4,500 and 10,000 cfs for two weeks. Releases from Lewiston Dam will then ease back to 450 cfs over an 11-week period. Expect the first spring salmon to arrive sometime in June.



There are still numbers of bass to be caught, but mostly in the in the 11- to 14-inch range. While the lake and waters are still transitioning, be prepared to junk fish: aka, toss a lot of different stuff at them. The crappie action remained good around the lake on mini-jigs while anglers used cut bait for catfish.


Winds and other weather kept anglers off the water this past week.


High winds and big water at Lake Berryessa kept anglers at home or looking for an alternative and not far away, tucked out of the heavy winds, was Lake Hennessey in Rutherford. With just 850 surface acres and a 10 horsepower limit, most anglers just drive on by. But this little lake is packed with healthy largemouth, smallmouth and crappie for the taking. Big bass boats can launch but can't fire up the big motor, just trolling motor, which makes for a peaceful outing. There’s plenty of 1- to 3-pound largemouth spawning or looking to spawn right now and can be caught with a Pointer 100, chatterbaits, jigs and Senkos. Target the transition areas from the tules to rocky banks on the east shoreline in 5 to 15 feet of water.


A few crappie are being caught in and around the campgrounds in 10 to 15 feet on crappie jigs or live minnows under a slip bobber. Or target bass in the main lake with shad swimbaits on a lead head in 5 to 15 feet of water. Senkos, jerkbaits, swimbaits and plastics are also working.



With hatches going off everywhere, the trout fishing has also been good just about everywhere. Try both basins from north to south. Try Sep's Pro Flashers trailing a ‘crawler downrigged at 22 feet.


With more hatches going off the trout bite picked up a notch, although few have been here to enjoy it.


No reports yet from this past weekend’s opener, but look for October Caddis hatches near sunset and fish a brushy dry fly like an orange Stimulator. Best hatches occur in the morning and then again near sunset. Get on the water before 10:00 a.m. and look for rainbows and brown trout rising near the edges of the river for best chance at a dry-fly hook-up.


There is good trout fishing here on leeches and dry flies down by the dam. And after this past weekend’s trout opener you can bet you’ll have it all to yourself.


Opened April 30. Try stonefly and various mayfly nymphs or a big chubby Chernobyl with a red copper John dropper.


Check for big releases and always look at stream flow reports. This river is only for the advanced outdoor person and angler –so be careful out there. Warm days equals snow melt and could mean cloudy water. Big, dark flies should work here show them to the fish many times, as they often take it once you've nagged them enough.


Trout and salmon are in front of the dam. Trout at 40 and 50 feet and salmon from 60 to 80 feet. The bass fishing has been excellent for numbers of smaller fish but fish are scattered out to 25 feet.


Has not been a good option due to launch conditions and lower water levels but rising.



The Lake Amador Resort planted another 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen rainbows this week, and trout dough bait has been the key from the banks and also from boats. Boaters are slow-drifting dough bait 100 feet behind the boat, and fishermen who have been unsuccessful with everything else are resorting to switching to Power Bait. A 12-lb. rainbow was taken from the banks, and there have been a number of large fish landed in the past week.


Trout plants continue at the lake with 300 pounds at the Kid’s Fishing Pond, 300 pounds at the South Shore ramp, 600 pounds at the South Shore Pond, and 600 pounds at the North Shore launch ramp. Plants will continue as long as the water temperature is below 70 degrees. Bass fishermen are picking up rainbow trout on Senkos in the river arm. The 2nd Annual Kid’s Fishing Event was a huge success with many more children arriving this year. The lake has risen to 58% of capacity.


Trout fishing continues to be solid, with Danny Layne of Fish’n Dan’s Guide Service scoring rainbows to 22.75 inches using watermelon Apex lures, Cop Car Excel spoons, or blade/’crawler combinations at depths to 20 feet in lower Fleming Bay. Bass fishing is improving as the water is stabilizing at 67%. All three launch ramps are open.


Trollers are picking up striped bass to 6 pounds running frozen shad or anchovies on a harness below the surface. The water is clearing up, and the stripers are able to locate the bait. The lake has risen to 44% of capacity, and launching a boat is no problem.


The lake continues to rise, and it is currently at 47% of capacity. Bass fishing remains good with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot, and the warmer weather conditions will improve the topwater bite. The McClure Point and Barrett Cove South launch ramps are open with the Barrett Cove North ramp under construction.


Trout fishing is slow with the lack of planting, but spotted bass are abundant near the launch ramp with nightcrawlers. Trout fishermen are trying, but success is fleeting. There are still several tagged fish in the lake from the MID Derby, and registered participants can still pick up the No. 1 tagged fish worth $500.00. The Marina Store is open from Thursday through Sunday.


Kokanee action remains solid with the fish holding in the river mouth and arm, and they are dropping in the water column as the temperatures increase. Experienced fishermen are finding quick limits in the early mornings, and small pink lures have been the key. Trout are spreading throughout the lake after the huge plant a few weeks ago. Catfishing is good near Stoney Point with trout dough bait intended for rainbows. The RV Park is scheduled to open between May and July, depending upon the pace of construction.



The lake is at 62.9-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported things were very slow here with little fishing pressure at all. The best bet would be to try for browns and rainbows at the dam.


The lake is at 66.5-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported the ice was unstable, but some areas refroze during the cold front that pounded the mountains this past weekend. Caples Lake Resort suggested that the lake might not thaw now until late May at best. The resort was on spring hiatus and will hopefully reopen for the summer season by Memorial Day weekend, assuming the lake thaws. Anglers hiking into Wood’s Creek through the snow from the highway were catching a few rainbows at the inlet.


The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Jeanne Graham at J&J’s Grizzly Store reported trollers were doing pretty well between the island and Honker Cove using Needlefish and Dick Nites at 10 to 15 feet deep. Shore fishing and flyfishing was still slow. There’s a courtesy dock at Honker Cove, but the USFS announced it would not install a dock this year at the Camp 5 ramp—if you’re not happy with this decision, let them know about it.


The lake is at 82-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Mountain Hardware and Sports confirmed that the lake was stocked with 12- to 14-inch rainbows, but fishing was slow—the fish must have quickly dispersed out into the main body of the lake.


The North Fork at Belden is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Mike Hanson at the Caribou Crossroads Resort reported 95 people entered the opening day fishing derby. Of the 23 kids that entered, only 3 caught a trout—the junior winner was 11-year-old Quaid Lobo of Oroville with a 13 3/4-inch rainbow. Adult winner was Jeff Johnson with a 20 1/8-inch brown!! The fishing should improve dramatically this week after the DFW plant.


The lake is at 43-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported the lake was fishing well at the dam and Turkey Point for shore anglers using nightcrawlers. The local streams opened this past weekend and Les Thayer of Chilcoot scored a limit of rainbows to 2 1/2 pounds in Galeppi Creek. Another angler reported catching a limit of nice browns in Last Chance Creek below the Chilcoot campground.


The Basin was still snowed in, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden.


The lake is at 92-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service fished this past week and reported landing 13 rainbows on dodger/worms toplined between the boat ramp and the dam. The trout were all 10 to 13 inchers.


Poor weather this past week made this a lousy place to fish in light of the opening of the season on the heavily planted Carson River drainage.


The lake is at 84.6-percent capacity. This lake is still snowed in.


The lake is full and spilling. A 5-pound largemouth bass was caught in the shallows at the second dam on a tube, and planter rainbows were hitting Rooster Tails at the upper boat ramp, according to Sly Park Resort.


Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported picking up a few 3- to 5-pound browns and macks trolling Rapalas in 20 to 40 feet of water along South Shore. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing said mack fishing was phenomenal right out in front of Ski Run and Edgewood on the shelves for 3- to 4-pound macks—they were releasing lots of 2 pounders. If the wind blew from the SW, the Camp Rich area was producing 5- to 10-pound macks in 30 to 40 feet of water.


The lake is at 27.8-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported fishing was very slow here with the low lake level. The best bet was trying for smallmouth bass on the rocky points using a tube jig or darthead worm.


Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported fishing was still slow due to bad weather conditions, a full moon, and the spawning season. Only 2 large cutthroats were recorded this past week. A 10-pound, 10.4-ouncer was caught at Pelican Point on a FlatFish by Jeff Garner of Shingle Springs. Ben Madison of Santa Rosa landed a 13 1/4 pounder from the shore at Pelican. Guide George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported only getting 7 or 8 strikes on his last trip. His 2 clients caught limits of 17 to 20 inchers and they released a 23-inch trout. They were trolling Apex at Warrior Point.


The ice was getting unstable—go fish the nearby heavily planted West Carson instead.


The lake is at 51.3-percent capacity. The ice was getting unstable, so go over the Pass and fish the heavily stocked Carson River.


The lake is at 39-percent capacity. The boat ramp was in the water and some trollers were already scoring some nice kokanee.


Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported trollers were doing very well on 2- to 3-pound rainbows using black/gold Rapalas and gold flashers and worms. Shore anglers were catching some limits of smaller trout. The lake was already beginning to drop due to releases for agricultural and tribal allocations.


The general trout season opener along Hwy 89 was slow due to the poor weather, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.


The lake is at 94-percent capacity. The road to the ramp at the dam was open. The road to the ramp at Sunset should open soon, as should the campgrounds. There was little word available on the fishing here.


The Little Walker and West Walker at Pickel Meadows and the Canyon were stocked by the DFW this past week. According to Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel, “the opener was a bust” due to freezing temps, snow, wind and rain. The temperature in the Canyon was 31 degrees opening morning and most folks didn’t last 30 minutes trying to fish in the foul conditions. One river regular who’s fished the opener for 40 years didn’t get a bite. Well at least there will be a lot of fish left over from the trout plants made before the opener to catch when the weather improves!!! It was much nicer on Sunday, though, and more anglers were on the river, according to WON Staffer Bill Karr who drove by there late morning on his way back from Bishop.



American shad are moving through the Freeport area, and bank fishermen and boaters are finding better action every day as the larger females have yet to arrive. Small 1-inch grubs in champagne/pink or sparkle are doing the job. Striped bass trolling is best near Decker and Sherman Islands with either deep or shallow diving lures. The wind has made for challenging conditions. Sturgeon fishing remains outstanding in the Big and Little Cuts with salmon roe for the few fishermen targeting diamondbacks.


The striper bite has slowed down, but there are still quality linesides to 16 pounds in the system. The majority of stripers are downstreamers, but there are a few fresh fish moving upriver. Largemouth bass required a slower approach with the colder water temperatures, but this is still a good time to pick up a trophy fish flipping or worming. The reaction bite should take off with the warmer temperatures. Bluegill are abundant in the sloughs while crappie are found with live minnows near Tiki Lagun and Turner Cut.



Bass fishing has been very good in the North Fork and South Fork, with smallmouth and spotted bass holding in 10 to 15 feet of water close to shore. Boaters are using green pumpkin or watermelon with red flake tubes and grubs. Largemouth bass are on their beds in coves throughout the lake. Bank anglers are using live minnows with slip bobbers. The lake rose 1 foot last week to 452 feet of elevation, less than 14 feet from being completely full. Officials said the lake should reach full capacity by the end of May. The surface temperature over the weekend as 65 degrees. Trout trollers are focusing on the North and South forks, but trout and salmon action has been slow.


Trout fishing has been good since the lake was heavily stocked for the derby at the beginning of the month. Kastmasters and Power Bait both have been taking limits.


Flows were down to 900 cfs on Sunday at the Delta gauge, their lowest of the year. Conditions have improved for trout fishing. Nymphs have been working on the soft edges and side channels.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Fishing is now closed from Keswick Dam to the Highway 44 bridge, a 5.5-mile stretch. From the Highway 44 bridge to Anderson, fishing for wild rainbow trout has been good. Flows held steady at 5,530 cfs from Keswick Dam all week. Anglers are launching at the Posse Grounds. Carp spawn-colored beads are still working, but some dry flies and nymphs also are getting action, as well as tiny plugs. Many trout have already spawned and are now feeding heavily.



The South Fork at Coloma is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.


The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Bass fishermen were still catching large numbers of dink spots running 8 to 11 inches and a few big fish. Emerald Cove Marina reported an older couple fished on Saturday and caught 5 1/2- and 6 1/2-pound spots. Guide Ron Gandolfi recommended pitching worms and Senkos near the submerged trees in the Willow Creek arm.


The lake is full. North Shore Resort reported bass fishing was good in the Rock Creek and Bear River arms. The water color had improved greatly and most of the debris had blown to the shore.


The lake is full. The lake is scheduled to receive 3800 pounds of rainbows, including trophy fish, from Collins Lake Resort this week and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Shore anglers were doing well for rainbows at the dam and Beach. Trollers had a banner week catching many rainbows 4 to 7 1/2 pounds on Rapalas, FlatFish, and Needlefish spoons. Catfish to 14 1/2 pounds were beginning to show in larger numbers. Bass fishing was good with the fish up in the shallows to spawn.


The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported there were a lot of fishermen on the lake—some in the marina and many others up the lake trolling or pulled up on the shore using bait. Bass fishing should be good in the coves and on the points leading into the coves.


The lake is at 74.8-percent capacity. The road to the lake was open and the ramp was usable. No campgrounds were open yet.


The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week.


The lake is at 77.5-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the road to the lake was open and the launch ramp was usable. RV’ers can camp in the boat launch parking lot. No campgrounds were open yet.


The lake is at 96-percent capacity—only 9 feet from full!!! Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was still very good with 4-hour trips producing 50 to 60 fish on tubes, grubs, drop-shot and darthead worms, Senkos on steep rocky walls, and spinnerbaits in the mudlines. Most fish were post-spawn, but there were still a lot of pre-spawn and spawning fish around. If you’re not getting bit on a lure you’ve used before in an area, switch to something different—the fish are getting conditioned to avoid some lures. Small salmon should be hitting near the dam for trollers.


The lake is at 99.8-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at NID reported the water color was much improved. Fishing conditions should be better; we just need someone to report how they’re doing! The lake was stocked by the DFW a couple weeks ago.


The lake is at 97.9-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at NID reported fishing was very good with bass to 5 pounds, and both browns and rainbows hitting in good numbers. The water color was clear and there was little debris floating now. The lake was stocked by the DFW a couple weeks ago.


The lake is full. The campgrounds and day-use area were open.


The lake is full. The campgrounds were finally open, according to the Georgetown Ranger Station. The DFW stocked the lake in April so there are fish to be caught. Boaters must now pay a $7 day-use fee.


The lake was at 133.9-foot elevation at press time—81.2-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass fishing was good around the tule islands in the east side bays in 4 to 6 feet of water. Senkos and jigs pitched tight into the tules were working for largemouths to 3 1/2 pounds. Spinnerbaits and small swimbaits fished on the outside of the tules were working well also.



Plenty of crabs were pulled and hauled into the Port of Brookings early in the week when sea conditions were friendly and 5 to 8 crabs were found in most pots.Miss Brooke ran crab trips and also very productive rockfish and lingcod trips to the Mack Arch area.


For private boaters, Berkeley Flats was a prime destination because the floor of the Bay here seemed to be littered with halibut. Party boats Happy Hooker andCalifornia Dawn turned in some impressive scores, which at times were equal portions of halibut and striped bass, caught on live bait now available in San Francisco for the party boat fleet.


The best part of the fishing week didn’t start until Sunday when the seas finally calmed down and New Sea Angler could go up the coast to get into some quality rockfish and lingcod. At Lawson’s Landing the joke during the week was that you couldn’t cast from the beach because the wind would throw it back in your face. The best bet was Dungeness crabs and jacksmelt from the pier.


While waiting out the full-force winds and gnarly seas outside the Gate, the Landing sent hard-working New Huck Finn on trips inside the Bay to fish for halibut. Counts approached a fish per rod, proving the fish are there and with live bait becoming available inside the Bay, halibut and bass trips should get nothing but better. New Seeker went out Sunday and found salmon near South Buoy.


Getting out to pull a few crab pots wasn’t in the cards, due to the weather, so folks went shore fishing along protected parts of North and South jetties instead for crabs, kelp greenling, perch, cabezon, rockfish and lingcod. Crabbing was pretty good inside the Bay.


Late in the week party boats made forays outside the harbor and on Friday Telstar set over 50 pots, then started back at the first pot to pull crabs her passengers. It only took 22 pots to score limits and that was after just a 1.5-hour soak. On Saturday a passenger caught a small but keeper salmon.


Riptide ran a full-load trip on Sunday and the better weather allowed people to pack sacks with fish. Huli Cat ran combo trips for crabs, rockfish and lingcod with the top ling coming in at 14 pounds. Queen of Hearts is planning to be back to work by Wednesday (before this issue of WON hits the streets) after putting in new engines on a grant for emissions control. Up at Pacifica, striped bass were caught from the Pier and from shore.


Wacky Jacky boated the biggest salmon of the week, a 20-pound beauty. Bass Tub got into the halibut and striped bass, with better than half her halibut being keepers. Flash II boated bass and halibut while Flash I got 2 big male sharks in the South Bay. Lovely Martha boated 10 halibut on Saturday and a 21 pounder on Sunday.